A Devastating Blow: The Plight of Ireland’s Spiritual Condition

“It’s a devastating blow to my country.”

Chris and Joi Copeland, World Venture Missionary Appointees

My wife works at Old Navy part-time while we raise support to live and serve in Ireland as missionaries. One day, an Irish woman came to my wife’s cash register at Old Navy. My wife asked her where she was from and she said that she was originally from somewhere between Belfast and Dublin. My wife then asked her how she felt about the recent vote to overturn a referendum that protected unborn children, which made abortion legal for the first time in the country’s history. She said that it was a “devastating blow to my country.” This Irish woman knows just how quickly Ireland is abandoning the shackles of Roman Catholicism and running as fast as they can toward secularism.

Ireland is a beautiful, green, and lush countryside. It’s on most people’s bucket list to visit someday. The people are warm and hospitable. It’s a prime vacation spot. What people don’t realize is the vast spiritual darkness that is covering the island. Ireland is abandoning religion faster than every country on earth except communist Vietnam. Atheism has grown 600% in the last two decades. Ireland has legalized gay marriage in 2016 and repealed a referendum protecting unborn children last May making abortion legal. Ireland has some of the highest suicide rates in the entire world. The Irish struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse, as they try to fill the hole left behind when they walked away from God. What was once “the land of saints and scholars” is quickly becoming a land of people with no religion, no moral foundation, no spiritual compass, and no hope.

Ireland is not on the radar for most churches when they are contemplating their missions budget for the year. However, Ireland, which was once a bastion of the Christian faith, is now quickly decaying. Ireland is leaving Catholicism in droves and the new generations are being raised without knowledge of God. There are now 72 towns in Ireland with a population of 5000 people or above which do not have a Gospel presence at all. No church. No Bible study. Nothing. Here in America, where there often a church on every corner, this is unfathomable to us.

This is why my family and I have been called to live and serve among the Irish. God called us back in 2014 and we were appointed by WorldVenture. He made it very clear that we were to live and serve in Ireland. We will be joining a church planting team already in place in Ireland. I have a Masters Degree in Leadership Development from Azusa Pacific University and plan to use that knowledge and my passion for building up leaders to help raise up local leaders who will take over the churches planted by our missions team. My wife is a Christian author who writes women’s fiction with stories of hope and redemption. She will use that gift to write Irish stories that will minister to the hearts of the Irish, who are a story telling people.

We also have an exciting opportunity to be a part of establishing a Compassion Centre in Galway City, which will provide services to all the young Irish women who would otherwise be forced to have an abortion. The government will likely encourage women to proceed with abortions because it is cheaper in the long run than providing social services for the mother and her child. The Compassion Centre, which will be church-run, will provide counseling, after school care, tutoring, and support for these desperate young women. Also, it will provide suicide intervention and prevention counseling for these women who are often on the brink of taking their own lives because they have no hope and no support system. I have had the opportunity to take several suicide intervention courses over the last four years and I will be training the team to identify and intervene when someone is in a suicidal pattern. We will provide services and direction for people who have lost hope and desperately need a reason to live. Most importantly, we will be discipling and meeting with people who need to hear the good news about Jesus. We will be hosting Bible studies in our home, meeting with individuals for discipleship, and working in the church to help lead others to Christ. The Irish need the hope that Christ gives and we have been called to share that hope.

If you are interested in hearing more about our ministry, we would love to connect with you. Also, if you are in a place to partner with us financially, please prayerfully consider joining us. We are currently at 74% of our monthly support. We are very close to going but we need a few more individuals and churches to join us. You can reach us via email at cjcopeland@worldventure.net. You can also visit our webpage at www.worldventure.com/cjcopeland or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/copelandclantoireland for more information. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Ireland needs your help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *